Sun | Sep 24, 2017

Ashwin puts India in control over New Zealand

Published:Monday | September 26, 2016 | 9:00 AM

KANPUR, India (AP):

Ravichandran Ashwin (3-68) took his 200th Test wicket to leave New Zealand struggling to stay afloat at 93-4 in 37 overs at stumps on day four in Kanpur. Set at an improbable 434 runs by India to win the first Test, the visitors still need 341 runs on day five, with six wickets and 98 overs remaining.

The slide began immediately after tea with Martin Guptill (0) caught at short leg, the third batsman in this Test to be dismissed after the ball hit the boot and lobbed up. Ashwin then made it two wickets in five balls in the fourth over, trapping Tom Latham (2) lbw.

When Kane Williamson (25), too, was deemed lbw in the 18th over, Ashwin became the second fastest bowler to take 200 Test wickets - in 37 Tests - after Australia's Clarrie Grimmett (36). Williamson had added 40 runs with Ross Taylor (17), who was run out after not grounding his bat as Umesh Yadav hit the stumps from deep.

COMPETING WITH SELF

"I am just happy trying to compete with myself. If you try and beat records, it will teach you a lesson. And this I learnt early in my career as I lost a good 12 to 18 months of Test cricket. It taught me to compete with myself and get better every day," said the off-spinner, who missed a chance to equal the record earlier in August when India's fourth Test against West Indies in Port-of-Spain was washed out.

Luke Ronchi (38) and Mitchell Santner (8) stemmed the tide, batting out 15.3 overs until the close of play. However, it will take something special for the visitors to overcome the highest-ever successful run chase of 418-7 by West Indies against Australia in 2003.

The highest fourth-innings' total in Kanpur is 240 by India against West Indies in 1958, which the hosts lost by 203 runs.

"We need to keep fighting. That's how we play our cricket. We still have six wickets in hand and India showed that it's easier to score runs if you get a partnership going. More importantly, we need to bat for time," said New Zealand bowling coach Shane Jurgensen.

Earlier, India finished at 377-5 declared in their second innings, with Rohit Sharma (68) and Ravindra Jadeja (50) scoring fifties. Overnight batsmen Murali Vijay (76) and Cheteshwar Pujara (78) fell short of hundreds for a second time in the match.

Skipper Virat Kohli (18) was dismissed cheaply, while Ajinkya Rahane made 40 as the hosts piled on the runs.